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How to free belly dance from tick-tock tyranny and reclaim the glorious chaos of its heritage.
How to free belly dance from tick-tock tyranny and reclaim the glorious chaos of its heritage.
How to free belly dance from tick-tock tyranny and reclaim the glorious chaos of its heritage.
182 backers pledged $8,203 to help bring this project to life.

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Midnight at the Crossroads: Has Belly Dance Sold its Soul?

$8,203

182

 How cool is that?

WOW! So we had a party! And now EVERY BACKER'S name and a link to their online presence posted on the book's website!
WOW! So we had a party! And now EVERY BACKER'S name and a link to their online presence posted on the book's website!
Now
  • EVERY BACKER gets a signed Elbi postcard mailed to them
  •  Bigger, nicer tote bags! 
  • $39 BACKERS and above get an audio book! 
  • Another PARTY!
YOU ROCK!
YOU ROCK!

But it doesn't stop here!

There is a far greater reward for all of us: Honoring the dance.

There is a lot more to this dance than meets the eye. And those less visible elements are the most vital and rewarding--for the dancers, the audience, and the world.

Key elements of my mission have always been to 

  • Awaken people to their own beauty and power; 
  • Enable them to express their unique individuality through art; 
  • Bring honor and appreciation to Oriental dance
  • Enjoy a life of creativity, adventure, mystery, abundance, and ease;
  • Cultivate a radiant oasis of warmth and delight. 

This book does all that. It is a love letter to the dance that has nourished me for 40 years. It is a how-to handbook for dancers and teachers so they can find their way in the big city of belly dance. It is a beacon of light welcoming dancers home to the soul of their beloved dance.

Share the light.

Take a look. Back this book. Share this project. Together, we change the world, one undulation at a time.

Thank you for making this possible.

Love, Alia

PS

  • EVERY BACKER's name and a link to their online presence in the e-book!
  • EVERY PRINT BOOK BACKER gets a second book for free! 
  • EVERY EBOOK BACKER gets a second ebook for free! 
  • $100 BACKERS and above get their name in the book!
  • VIDEO PARTIES EVERY MONTH, all the way through December!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled pitch ; )

People love belly dance all over the world. 

Elbi loves belly dance, too!
Elbi loves belly dance, too!

From China to the USA, from Australia to Russia, no one even knows how many people love it. Thousands? Millions? Maybe even billions!

Not bad for a simple little folk dance, right?

But as the dance's stock has risen, political agendas and Western values have stripped its cultural roots. Yes, dances evolve and change. It’s an organic process. Anything that doesn’t change is dead.

Sadly, the parts most focused upon--the sensual movement vocabulary and the (Western-inspired) sparkly costumes--are only the outermost layers of the dance.

In traditional Oriental dance, technique is the servant of expression. 

Feeling is most important. Improvisation is a mark of mastery. A song or dance is never done the same way twice. The artist varies each movement to better express the music or their feeling in the moment. 

This feeling in the moment is the secret center of Oriental dance, its soul. 

And when we embrace this soul, we open ourselves to a healing movement miracle. Why? Because this simple folk dance, with its Eastern ethos and Sufi roots, is a magical key that unlocks artistic, physical, and spiritual transformation.

Alia performing on 6/2/14. Photo by Ben DeFlorio
Alia performing on 6/2/14. Photo by Ben DeFlorio

 So how do we do that? 

Ah! That’s where this book comes in.

Announcing:

This book celebrates the secret center of Oriental music and dance!

NB: When I say Eastern or Oriental, I refer to the countries of the Near and Middle East and North Africa, including Turkey and Greece, that have contributed to this dance. Western refers primarily to classical dance such as ballet, the basis of most dance training in the West.

Listen to an interview about this book.

Midnight at the Crossroads will:

  • Examine the relationship between Oriental music and dance 
  • Discuss the various Golden Ages and historical progression of the dance 
  • Expose the link between stylization and loss of core dance benefits 
  • Analyze the political agenda behind the Westernization of the dance 
  • Deconstruct Orientalism, cultural appropriation, and Shiny Things Syndrome 
  • Follow the rise of Tick-Tock Technique--and the decline of feeling 
  • Unpack and celebrate the dance's myriad magical powers, spiritual, physical, and artistic 
  • Acknowledge new parameters, for example, the rise of recorded music and theater venues 
  • Provide models to graciously accommodate the dance’s core values within these new settings 

Is this this book against choreography? No. 

It's fun to make dances and fun to perform them. But the book provides better ways to teach and learn the essence of this dance. 

Is this book against technique? No.

Technique is essential to expression. But it is the servant of expression. The book shows how to engage fully with the music, to merge your soul with that of the dance.

This book is for feeling, improvisation, and treasuring the soul of the dance.

It is for intentionality and having something to say. It is for an intimate shared experience between the dancer and the audience that ripples out into the world and enriches everyone it touches.

Read excerpts from the book!

Four Problems of Precision (and one solution)

How meaning creates emotion

Why Rote Movement is not your friend

Here's me dancing.

I'll illustrate the book with my cartoon character, Elbi (that's her in the title pic, too).

Hi, I'm Elbi!
Hi, I'm Elbi!

Part 1 examines the traditional values of Eastern music and dance. 

Part 2 looks at the conflicts with Western dance: rifts between expression and technique, improvisation and choreography, function and form--and at a political landscape alarmed by the Eastern identity of the dance.

Part 3 examines the healing powers of the dance, including the science of trauma resolution and the dance's Sufi soul. 

Part 4 is a how-to for dancers and teachers, a guide for discovering your own true dance. 

And let's not forget...

Rewards posted here may be more up to date than those to the right. 

Pledge $1 or more: The THOUSAND THANKS! 

  • A Backer's-Only Blog with thank you video, book excerpts, Elbi cartoons (that's her in the title pic), and assorted surprise fun over the course of the project. 
  • PLUS a livestream of the book's launch party (with real belly dancers!)

Pledge $10 or more: The DIGITAL REVOLUTION!

  • The complete ebook two weeks BEFORE the print book goes out (at less than half the retail price). 
  • INCLUDES all the $1 rewards.

Pledge $25 or more: The BOOK ITSELF! 

Do you love books? Me too!

  • A beautiful trade paperback copy of the final book hot off the presses, just for you (at $20 off the retail price). 
  • Your name and a link to your online presence posted on the book's website
  • INCLUDES all of the $10 rewards.
  • Add tote bag for $20

NEW!

 Pledge $39 or more: The INTERNATIONAL!

NEW!

Oh, the places you'll go and the people you'll meet!
Oh, the places you'll go and the people you'll meet!

Pledge $45 or more: The TRAVELER!

  • Sturdy, quality shoulder tote. 18"w x 14.5"h x 3"d. 25" handles. Recycled cotton and/or soda bottles. Made in USA. Black bag. Cover graphic in white. Hand-colored red accents. Super nice bags, worth the money. 
  • 5 Elbi postcards
  • INCLUDES all of the $39 rewards (reward on right says $25, but it's $39)

 Pledge $50 or more: The SIGNED BOOK! 

  • A signed, personalized paperback print copy of the book
  • A limited-edition KickStarter cover 
  • 5 Elbi postcards (yes, it says 1 over on the right. You'll get 5. Cause you're so awesome ; ). 
  • INCLUDES all the $39 rewards (now that there are some ;).
  • Add tote bag for $20

NEW!

NEW!

Pledge $70 or more: The SIGNED TRAVELER!

  • Sturdy, quality shoulder tote. 18"w x 14.5"h x 3"d. 25" handles. Recycled cotton and/or soda bottles. Made in USA. Black bag. Cover graphic in white. Hand-colored red accents. Super nice bags, worth the money. 
  • 5 Elbi postcards. 
  • PLUS all of the $50 rewards.

Pledge $75 or more: The Global Power!

  • A one-hour consult with Alia--discussion, private class, whatever. Via Skype, or live if you are in the neighborhood ($75 value).
  • INCLUDES all the $39 rewards.

NEW!

Get more and save!
Get more and save!

Pledge $99 or more: The BOOKALICIOUS!

  • Get five books with shipping included in the USA. 
  • Want more books? Add $20 for each additional book (includes $10 rewards). 
  • Want signed books? Add $25 more ($45 total for each signed book-- includes $39 rewards). 
  • Add TOTE BAGS for $20 each (worth it!) 
  • All rewards sent to one address. 
  • I will email prior to shipping to double check the exact order.

NEW!

Free shipping anywhere in the world!
Free shipping anywhere in the world!

 Pledge $99 or more: The WORLD BOOKALICIOUS!

  • Get four books with shipping included anywhere in the world. 
  • Want more books? Add $25 for each additional book (includes $10 rewards). 
  • Want signed books? Add $25 more ($50 total) for each signed book (includes $39 rewards). 
  • Add TOTE BAGS for $20 each. 
  • All rewards sent to one address. 
  • I will email prior to shipping to double check the exact order.

 Pledge $100 or more: The LAUNCH! 

  • An invitation (+1) to the backers-only launch party + show in NYC
  • A signed, numbered Elbi print suitable for framing
  • 5 Elbi postcards. 
  • Your name and a link to your online presence in the e-book.
  • INCLUDES all the $50 rewards.
  • Add tote bag for $20

(Want a super nice black tote bag (seriously)? Cover graphic in white + hand-colored red accents. Add $15 to your pledge)

NEW!

Pledge $150 or more: The Improv Course!  

  • Four-week ONLINE course in October
    ($100 value--4 weeks for the cost of a one-day workshop)
  • A solid system for teaching and learning improv
  • Professional educator specializing in online courses
  • Private forum
  • INCLUDES all the $75 rewards

Pledge $250 or more: The SHOW! 

  • Alia will record a special 5-minute dance video download just for you.
  • Your choice of music, your name and a thank you in the video. 
  • Video will be displayed in a special online gallery with thanks to you.
  • INCLUDES all the $100 rewards.

Pledge $1,600 or more: The PARTY! 

  • Alia will come to your location for one day to perform, speak, and teach (or we can just hang out and dance). 
  • Your name and online presence in the print book's thank you credits.
  • INCLUDES all the $250 rewards!

Have an idea for a cool reward? Please message me!

Here's a video teaching sample (an excerpt from the workshop download in the rewards).

Here's a fun FB cover pic for backers!

Click the pic to see it on FB. Tag yourself (or download it), and then set it as your cover pic. Thanks!

Oh, yeah, have we got Stretch Goals!
Oh, yeah, have we got Stretch Goals!
WE DID IT! THANK YOU!!!
WE DID IT! THANK YOU!!!
  • EVERY BACKER'S name and a link to their online presence posted on the book's website!
  • A PARTY!
  • EVERY BACKER gets a signed Elbi postcard mailed to them! 
  • Bigger, nicer tote bags!
  • $39 BACKERS and above get an audio book!
  • Another PARTY!
  • EVERY BACKER gets their name and a link to their online presence on the e-book Thank You page! 
  • EVERY PRINT BOOK BACKER gets a second book for free!
  • EVERY DIGITAL BACKER gets a second ebook for free! 
  • $100 BACKERS and above get their name in the book!
  • PARTIES EVERY MONTH, all the way through December!

Can we make it to $9000? 

  • Hmmmm.... Something really good.... Ideas?

WHY STRETCH GOALS? 

The initial funding level pays for professional editing and book design, and for fulfilling the backers rewards. But I have a dream. I'd love to be able to write the book AND eat. More funding means less scrounging to pay the bills. More energy in the book makes a better book. And that benefits all of us--and the dance we love. I also want this conversation to carry. I want all of us thinking about the dance--how to cherish it and ourselves.

Key elements of my mission have always been to

  • Awaken people to their own beauty and power; 
  •  Enable them to express their unique individuality through art; 
  •  Bring honor and appreciation to Oriental dance

This book does all that. It is a love letter to the dance that has nourished me for 40 years. It is a how-to handbook for dancers and teachers so they can find their way in the big city of belly dance. It is a beacon of light welcoming dancers home to the soul of their beloved dance.

Share the light.

Take a look. Back this book. Share this project. Together, we change the world, one undulation at a time.

Thank you for making this possible.

Love, Alia

Genesis and writing plan

Midnight began as a talk I gave at the 2012 International Bellydance Conference of Canada. A portion of the first chapter appeared in Gilded Serpent's Belly Dance Reader. Conversations with Sufi Master Dunya McPherson deepened my appreciation of the powers of this dance. 

My plan is to finish the first draft by the end of July (I already have about 20K words and an outline). From August through September, I will revise and polish. I expect the finished work to run about 150-200 pages. 

This book is not a scholarly treatise full of footnotes. Neither is it plea for the good old days or a new age godyssey.

This book IS a working handbook for understanding and valuing the culture and ethos of Oriental dance, how it has been co-opted, and how to nourish its soul. It is a system for connecting to the dance’s energy so you can develop a personal dance practice, discover your own true dance, and become a more grounded, happier, performer, dancer, teacher, and human being.

Funding will support professional editing and book design, plus production and mailing of the rewards. It's going to be a lovely little gem. Funding at a higher level will support me as I write and edit. Even more will get some really cool surprise treats!

Sample topics include

  • Why the Sufi Connection confirms the depth and power of this dance  
  • How we lost the dance's myriad magical powers, spiritual, physical, and healing (and why we want them back) 
  • Why embracing the values of Oriental music enhances our dance
  • How patriarchy co-opted our dance--and why reclaiming it sets us free
  • Why stylization suffocates the dance's magic—and how to transcend it 
  • How 9/11 killed ethnic dance in the USA
  • Why feeling trumps technique (and how to have both)
  • How a political agenda influenced the Westernization of our dance
  • Why Orientalism, cultural appropriation, and Shiny Things Syndrome threw out the baby—but kept the bathwater
  • How the rising tide of Tick-Tock Technique drowns out the feeling
  • Why recorded music is a curse--and a blessing
  • How to celebrate the dance’s core values within its new settings

All this with humor, acumen, and 40 years of Oriental dance passion.

Thank you for checking out this project! 

I am so excited to write this book. 

Talk to me! Ask questions. If you'd like a different award level, tell me!

Please share! Please comment!

Please pass this along to your friends. Please back it. 

It's going to be a remarkable journey. I am so happy that you are here with me.

Thank you!

Love,
Alia

Risks and challenges

The main question is CAN SHE DO IT?

Can I write and edit this book as quickly as I say? Well, there are always unforeseen obstacles, but in general, I have a pretty good track record for daily writing and post production. I will publish this book, KS or not.

I have won http://nanowrimo.org twice, two 50K+ word novels written in 30 days (an agent is eyeing one). I have also completed two sets of 90 Day Dance Challenges, writing 350-800+ words a day for 90 days, 7 days a week.

I teach writing at the college level, so I do know what I'm doing. I have a solid outline for the book, and I'm already halfway through. I'm excited and knowledgable about the topic. So that part is pretty much in the bag.

I have made nice, neat pdfs and ebooks. So all systems go there.

While I have not published a physical book before, I do know a lot of people who have. I've gathered a LOT of practical information. I'm finalizing discussions with a book designer, editor and publisher--watch this space for more. I'm also learning to publish ebooks using InDesign.

All in all, I have done my homework, read up on prices and shipping costs, and generally prepared pretty well. Most of my rewards are digital or virtual. The shipping of the signed books etc I can do myself, and if, if, the thing goes crazy, the unsigned books can be fulfilled by the printer.

Let the KickStarting begin!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About $1.00

    The THOUSAND THANKS! A Backer's-Only Blog with thank you video, book excerpts, Elbi cartoons (that's her in the title pic), and assorted surprise fun over the course of the project. PLUS a livestream of the book's launch party (with real belly dancers, natch!)

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    The DIGITAL REVOLUTION! The completed ebook two weeks BEFORE the print book goes out (at less than half the retail price). PLUS all the $1 rewards.

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    36 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    The BOOK ITSELF! A beautiful trade paperback copy of the final book hot off the presses, just for you (at $20 off the retail price) PLUS all of the $10 rewards.

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    Pledge US$ 39 or more About $39

    The INTERNATIONAL!

    Subscription to the next 90 Day Dance Party, Feb 1 - May 2, 2015 ($40 value. See body for link). A digital download of How to Dance with Confidence with a bonus pdf of the class notes ($22 value). PLUS all of the $10 rewards.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    The TRAVELER!

    A super nice black tote bag (seriously) with cover graphic in white + hand-colored red accents. 5 Elbi postcards. PLUS all of the $25 rewards.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    The SIGNED BOOK! A signed, personalized paperback print copy of the book--with a limited-edition KickStarter cover and an Elbi postcard. PLUS all the $39 rewards.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    The SIGNED TRAVELER
    Sturdy, quality shoulder tote. 18"w x 14.5"h x 3"d. 25" handles. Recycled cotton and/or soda bottles. Made in USA. Black bag. Cover graphic in white. Hand-colored red accents. Super nice bags. 5 Elbi postcards. PLUS all the $50 rewards

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 75 or more About $75

    The Global Power!

    A one-hour consult with Alia--discussion, private class, coaching, etc. Via Skype, or live if you are in the neighborhood ($75 value). A digital download of the one-hour workshop "How to Dance with Confidence" with a bonus pdf of the class notes (a $22 value). PLUS all the $39 rewards.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    The BOOKALICIOUS! Get five books with shipping included in the USA. Want more books? Add $20 for each additional book (includes $10 rewards). Want signed books? Add $25 more ($45 total for each signed book-- includes $39 rewards). Add TOTE BAGS for $20 each (worth it!). All rewards sent to one address. I will email prior to shipping to double check the exact order.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    The WORLD BOOKALICIOUS!
    Get four books with shipping included anywhere in the world.
    Want more books? Add $25 for each additional book (includes $10 rewards).
    Want signed books? Add $25 more ($50 total) for each signed book (includes $39 rewards). Add TOTE BAGS for $20 each. All rewards sent to one address. I will email prior to shipping to double check the exact order.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    The LAUNCH! An invitation to the backers-only launch party + show in NYC, Elbi print suitable for framing, and 5 Elbi postcards. PLUS all the $50 rewards.

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    Pledge US$ 150 or more About $150

    The IMPROV COURSE!

    Four-week ONLINE course ($100) value): A solid system for teaching and learning improv. Professional educator specializing in online courses. Hosted on a private forum. PLUS all the $75 rewards (ebook delivered in December)

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About $250

    The SHOW! Alia will record a special 5-minute dance video download just for you. Your choice of music, your name and a thank you displayed during the video. Video will be displayed in a special online gallery. PLUS all the $100 rewards.

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    Pledge $1,600 or more About $1,600

    The PARTY! Alia will come to your location for one day to perform, speak, and teach (or we can just hang out and dance). PLUS all the $250 rewards!

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Funding period

- (30 days)